Thesaurus

stern

adjective

Synonyms and Antonyms of stern

  1. 1 given to exacting standards of discipline and self-restraint the army post's stern commander always had the utmost respect of those who served under him Synonyms austere, authoritarian, flinty, hard, harsh, heavy-handed, ramrod, rigid, rigorous, severe, strict, toughRelated Words demanding, exacting; uncharitable, unforgiving; adamant, adamantine, callous, hardened, hard-hearted, hard-line, immovable, implacable, inflexible, merciless, ossified, pitiless, relentless, rock-ribbed, stiff, unbending, uncompromising, unrelenting, unsparing, unyielding; dour, gruff; ascetic (also ascetical), monastic, monkish; browbeating, bullying; determined, firm, resolved, single-minded, steadfast, unflinching; dogged, intractable, obstinate, relentlessNear Antonyms easy, easygoing, laid-back, undemanding; charitable, kind, merciful, mild, patient, soft, softhearted; accepting, compromising, yielding; responsive, willing; acquiescent, agreeable, amenable, complaisant, compliant, flexible, pliable, pliantAntonyms clement, forbearing, gentle, indulgent, lax, lenient, tolerant

  2. 2 harsh and threatening in manner or appearance a stern receptionist took our names without even looking up Synonyms austere, dour, fierce, flinty, forbidding, gruff, intimidating, lowering (also louring), rough, rugged, severe, stark, steely, grim, ungentleRelated Words bleak, cold, hostile, inhospitable, inimical, unfriendly, unsympathetic; adamant, bound, determined, firm, intent, purposeful, resolute, resolved, steadfast, unflinching; fixed, hard, hardened, hardheaded, immovable, implacable, inflexible, ironhanded, mulish, obdurate, obstinate, rigid, self-willed, set, stiff, stubborn, unbending, uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding, willful (or wilful); immutable, unchangeable; black, cheerless, dark, gloomy, glum, joyless, melancholic, moody, morose, sulky, sullen, surly; brooding, grave, humorless, melancholy, serious, sober, sobersided, solemn, somber (or sombre), staid, unsmiling, weightyNear Antonyms bland, meek, mellow, soft, soothing; easy, quiet, tranquil; agreeable, bright, cheerful, inviting, pleasant, pleasing, sweet; glad, happy, lighthearted, merry, mirthful, sunny; featherbrained, flighty, frivolous, giddy, goofy, harebrained, light-headed, playful, scatterbrained, sillyAntonyms benign, benignant, gentle, mild, nonintimidating, tender


Learn More about stern


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up stern? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

the point at which something begins

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!